Our Love Story | Part 2

Mar 25, 2014

So where did we leave off? Oh yes, summer break!

Part 1 here if you missed it.

So I went home for summer break, Chris and I were both in the mindset that we just had to get through the next couple months and I would be back up to Washington. I ended up getting a part time job, and taking a couple summer classes at UNLV. We talked all the time, and fell asleep on the phone many nights together. Chris offered to fly me up to Seattle for his two weeks of summer leave. I jumped at the opportunity and spent a whole week in Seattle. It was the most amazing time, we got even closer, and finally decided that maybe just maybe we were ready to call this thing a relationship. After going home some family drama would arise that would keep me from going back to college in Tacoma after the summer. Chris was very adamant in the fact that he didn't want to do a long distance relationship. I mean he was in the Army....he has seen one too many so called "love stories" be ruined by the distance. So we were at a stand still. He was leaving for pre-ranger and I was now working two jobs and going to UNLV full time. When he got back from from pre-ranger we broke up. It was all me, I just didn't think I could do all this time apart, time together, time apart thing. 

So we went a couple months going back and forth. Talking here and there, trying to figure things out. I was trying to find ways to get back to school in Washington, but Chris's unit was getting ready to deploy to Iraq very soon. We fought all the time about what the hell were we doing? This was non-sense. Its not like this could work. I finished my semester at school and things just hadn't gotten better between us. Chris then threw a hail marry and drove from Tacoma to Las Vegas on a weekend, that is an 18 hour drive. He stayed at my apartment for all of 10 hours before driving back. But that was all the time we needed to realize this was it. We had to do something in order to make this work.
His time to deploy got moved up by a couple months. It was January and he would be leaving for Iraq for 15 months in April. In February we started tossing around the idea of marriage (I know two 19 year olds just casually talking about getting married). It was crazy, but it didn't seem too far fetched for us. We are the go big or go home type of people. Once we had it in our minds that we could do this, it was done. In Seattle there is a waiting period to get married, so we applied for our marriage license. I got it notarized in Las Vegas, mailed it to him, he got it notarized in Seattle. We set it all up to get married in March. Were we nervous? Yes. We did not tell anyone, our families had no idea this was about to happen. 

So March 25, 2007 rolled around and I was about to board a flight to Seattle to get married. I remember telling my mom "mom I am going to marry him" and she said "ya ok Kelsey just fax me your marriage certificate" never for a second did she think I was being serious. Chris picked me up from the airport with a huge bouquet of lilies and a smile that melted my heart. What were we thinking? Were we really going to do this? And after we did this, then what? We had no answers, all we knew was this was our next step. We woke up the morning of March 28th with butterflies in our stomachs, checking the clock constantly. I got ready first, and watched anxiously as he put on his uniform. Chris's best friend showed up at our hotel to tell us how crazy this was, yet he supported it. 

We all made our way downtown and had a nice little ceremony. Just me and an entourage of uniformed men. We took one picture to commemorate the occasion. It was perfect! I was never the girl that wanted a big wedding, I never wanted the hassle. So this, this was all I needed. We finished out our "honeymoon" getting all the paperwork needed for me to be considered Chris's spouse when he deployed. I never wanted this trip to end because that meant that 15 months of separation would begin. We cleaned out his barracks room. I had duffle bags full of stuff that I was taking back to Vegas to keep while he was gone. It was an emotional whirlwind. But it did come to an end. He would deploy in 3 weeks, and I was headed back to Vegas a married woman with no husband to show for it.
I was left to break the news to my family. I remember sitting down before telling my mom and step-dad. My stomach was in knots. My head was filled with so many worse case scenarios. I was terrified! They had seen the ups and downs of this long distance relationship, but what would they think now? I presented my mom with our marriage certificate and she was in utter disbelief. It took her a minute but she knew how much we loved each other and she knew Chris was deploying and this was going to be a rough road ahead. Telling other people in my family did not go as smooth. It caused a huge divide that would take years to mend. Chris's family welcomed me with open arms, figuratively of course because we had never met. It was all very overwhelming. But all I was focused on was getting through this deployment and being with my husband. 

15 months of seperation, with only 2 weeks together for mid-tour leave after the first 10 months was excruciating. Chris deployed to Iraq during the surge in 2007. I knew nothing about the military prior to getting married. I was a 20 year old girl just trying to make it to class on time and use my lunch break at work to do homework. There was no Skype or FaceTime at this time. Phone calls were few and far between. We would talk maybe once a week if we were lucky. There were many rough weeks and months. We knew each other for less than a year before being separated for more than a year. We drifted apart at times, my day to day didn't stop. But he was experiencing things far beyond my comprehension. After 15 months he came home. I got an apartment outside of Tacoma and did my best to make it a home for him to return too. He came home in June of 2008. We thought that we would pick up where we left off. But that was the furthest thing from the truth....
All odds were against us. No one believed this was going to work. We struggled, we ate turkey sandwiches for breakfast lunch and dinner. We had no idea how to manage money, college classes, army life. All we had was this undeniable idea of love pushing us forward. That idea has taken us on an insane adventure over the years. Friday will mark another year together. And as Chris put it recently "we've been married ten years right?" no, no my sweet male companion that would mean I married you when I was 16. But close enough.......

*completely unrelated, but seeing all these pictures makes me miss my long hair....grow baby grow!


  1. We got married secretly too! Then I told everyone when he left for his second deployment. And a lot of family members were not happy about it either. Mike was in Iraq in 2007 too! I wanna know more!!! Will there be a part 3?

  2. I do enjoy the long hair too. I have no idea how you guys did that. A year apart!!! I remember at the beginning of our relationship thinking a WEEK was insane. You guys are stronger for it. Love reading about this.

  3. I had to go back and read the first half! I remember that text from an unknown number and random diamond jewelry. I love that your story isn't picture perfect! It's so sweet though! I'm with Amanda, part 3 please?

  4. :) I wish we had gotten married secretly haha! We were together only 2 months before getting married.

  5. Wow! The story keeps getting better and better! I'm so sorry that you guys had to go through so many hard trials, but look where you both are now! Can't wait to read more!

  6. Holy shit! You are CRAZY! I totally love that you didn't have a wedding. $$$$ brilliant! We thought we were doing it small with just 30 people. :) I love this story!

  7. Your wedding sounds absolutely perfect! We did it small too. I can't imagine how you must have felt telling your parents all alone. I would have been so nervous. You are brave!! Congrats on "10 years" haha.

    1. Thank you :) I was completely nervous, but I was prepared for whatever outcome. Just glad my mom knew me well enough to understand.

  8. Great story! I just love the old pics.

  9. Oh my gosh. You amaze me!!! What a beautiful story and what strength you have. I love it :)

  10. No one can possibly love this love story as much as I do...you two are adorable and I had no idea how dramatic the beginning was!!

  11. GAHH! I just love love! I'm a total sap... P.S. I also love your long hair.



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